Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let's Just Be Kind, Shall We?

Recently I've been following some debates between homebirth advocates and others who are not fans.  I make no secret of the fact that I am in favor of homebirth under the right circumstances, and with a qualified midwife.  I'm pretty much "homebirth YAY!" and "midwife YAY!".

At the same time, I've been reading debates between people who LOVE raw milk and people who HATE raw milk.  Guess where I stand on that argument?

This post, however, is not about that.

While reading both the comments AND the original posts on these subjects, I have found myself kind of appalled...not by the content, but by the language.  People are AWFUL to each other.  The thing is, I know that these are not awful people.  They would never walk up to a stranger and call them names, even if having a heated discussion.  Never would these folks call another person "stupid," or "slow" to that person's face.

Worst of all, these comments and blogs are laced liberally with an incredibly toxic and cruel type of sarcasm.  I'm not going to repeat anything specific that I've read today, but I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about.  Comments like, "If doing the research wasn't obviously too much work for you..." and "Clearly you aren't interested in reality..." are just rude.  That kind of sarcasm tells someone, "I hate you, you are scum and I have no interest in anything you have to say."

Not only that, but once something is on the internet, it is OUT there.  You cannot take it back.  You can apologize, but you cannot un-say it.

I get that people are angry.  It's infuriating to hear people make accusations against you and your friends that are irrational, mean spirited and rude.  I understand the temptation to react with further irrationality and rudeness.  And for the most part, I am pleased to see that the nastiness has been pretty one sided.

BTW, if you have participated in some of these debates and think I'm accusing YOU...I'm not.  I promise.

But am I alone in asking for a return to civility?  For people not to say anything to one another on the internet that you would NOT say to someone in person?  If you would not call someone ignorant, naive or stupid to their faces, then please don't do it on your blog, or anyone else's.  It's mean, it cuts dialogue off at the knees, and it makes you look like a jerk when you are not.

For the sake of politeness and not making yourself look like a scoundrel, please please please...just be nice.

Thank you!

PS:  I realize that I am quite possibly the MOST inconsistent blogger on the planet.  I'll try to be better from now on, okay?